More success for DigiLocal young people

DigiLocal is supporting young people to discover and develop their digital talents. We provide young people from under-represented groups in the tech industry with opportunities to develop their problem solving skills and build resilience.

In addition to our weekly community based clubs, we also provide external opportunities such as the European Astro Pi Challenge – Mission Zero.

Mission Zero offers participants up to 19 years old the chance to have their code run on the International Space Station!

External challenges help young people see the real-world application of their club activities. With our support they can, literally in this case, reach for the stars.

Dr John Bradford, CEO, DigiLocal

Teams or individuals write a python program to display a message and take environmental reading on an Astro Pi computer. These messages and readings are displayed to the astronauts as they go about their daily tasks on the ISS.

There are strict requirements that the code run without errors, complete it’s display within 30 seconds, and be efficiently coded.

Each year we support teams of young people to discover and participate in the Mission Zero Challenge. This year we had 6 teams taking part from across Bristol.

“We’ve really enjoyed attending… It’s so much fun. We started using scratch and then moved on to Python, which is more challenging. We specially like the competitions.”

Aycel & Kanzy (aged 11 & 9 yrs)

Each team receives a high quality certificate with a map on the reverse showing where the ISS was when their code ran (and yes, the maps are all different, showing exact times / locations – as you’d expect from a space station)!


About Digilocal

DigiLocal® is an independent registered charity (Reg: 1185746) for the public benefit, to advance the education of young people in the UK from groups that are under-represented within the technology industry, in particular but not exclusively, by supporting free technology clubs. It supports communities to run free tech clubs for their young people. Its mission is to support a tech club for young people with every community in the UK that would like to provide one.

European Astro Pi Challenge

The European Astro Pi Challenge is an ESA Education project run in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It offers students and young people the amazing opportunity to conduct scientific investigations in space by writing computer programs that run on Raspberry Pi computers on board the International Space Station (ISS).

DigiLocal to deliver computers to disadvantaged children during pandemic with funding support from Quartet Coronavirus Response Fund

Digilocal, a Bristol charity charged with supporting young people in learning digital skills, has been awarded a £2,500 grant by the Quartet Coronavirus Response Fund. The grant will support its work to supply laptops to families within Bristol, so that children can have the digital equipment to engage in home learning. 

Rishita on her DigiLocal laptop

Digilocal has been operating in the West of England for the past five years, becoming a charity in 2019. It seeks to bring digital skills to the heart of communities, operating free to attend coding clubs for children within over 14 local community centres. The clubs are run by a team of volunteers, with equipment which is usually transported from site to site throughout the week. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Digilocal has been lending its computers out to children across the region to use for home schooling. The charity has also been running sessions online every weekday evening for children who want to learn coding skills. 

Charity CEO John Bradford commented “Many of the young people who attend our clubs show enormous talent, and develop digital skills really quickly, but with the lock-down many of them have become digitally excluded, not just from our sessions but from the wide variety of online resources available. We instantly recognised the need to get computer equipment out to those households and we are delighted to have helped dozens of local children. We would love to do even more, it’s fantastic to have Quartet support this work.”

The laptop Digilocal provided to Rishita has made a significant contribution towards Rishita’s progress through Python coding and Scratch.’

Rishita’s father

The Quartet Coronavirus Response Fund grant programme aims to support local activities that are helping communities affected by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. It offers local charitable and community organisations emergency funding to support emerging challenges faced within local communities as a result of the continuing threat of Coronavirus.

About Digilocal

DigiLocal® is an independent registered charity (Reg: 1185746) for the public benefit, to advance the education of young people in the UK from groups that are under-represented within the technology industry, in particular but not exclusively, by supporting free technology clubs. It supports communities to run free tech clubs for their young people. Its mission is to support a tech club for young people with every community in the UK that would like to provide one. The charity was founded in 2019, having previously operated as part of the High Tech Bristol and Bath CIC since 2015.

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DigiLocal @ Stockwood Tech Takeover

DigiLocal young people learning how to control Minecraft via Python on a Raspberry Pi 3.

What to do in the half-term? Tech Takeover, of course!

We’ve been working with Nia at the Bristol Libraries Service for some time and were very happy to help support her Tech Takeover day at Stockwood Library on 16 Feb 2017.

Stockwood already runs a very successful CodeClub so I took some Raspberry Pi 3’s along. We soon had kids building games inside Minecraft using the Python API.

All the kids managed to get a working game running, a couple even completed the extra challenges at the end. The guides were all on the Raspberry Pi’s, I was just there to help trouble shoot syntax errors. Although coding is sometimes seen as a solitary activity, there was lots of social interaction with kids helping each other out; usually before I could get around the table to them myself, which is brilliant!

New tech ambassador helping his mum out with Minecraft & Python.

The focus for DigiLocal has always been supporting communities to run their own high quality tech clubs. The engagement from the young people was evident, one young lad stayed for over two hours and was asking for more Python projects (even ones that didn’t involve Minecraft)!

Stockwood Tech Takeover was unusual for us in that it was a single day. DigiLocal is normally a weekly activity in a community centre, library, or youth group. We work in partnership with other providers to provide the diverse communities across the region with regular, high quality, engagement with high tech.